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US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7.
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7.

Russia Ready to Expel 30 US Diplomats in Bans Row

Russia Ready to Expel 30 US Diplomats in Bans Row

Russia is ready to expel about 30 US diplomats and seize US state property in retaliation for Washington’s sanctions, Russian officials say.
The threat came from Russian foreign ministry sources, quoted by the daily Izvestia. Other Russian officials have made similar statements recently, BBC reported.
In December the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two intelligence compounds.
The measures were a response to alleged Russian meddling in the US election.
Russia was already under US sanctions. Ex-President Barack Obama acted against Russia after US intelligence sources had accused Russian state agents of hacking into Democratic Party computers to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the issue of the Obama sanctions with US President Donald Trump when they met in Hamburg on 7 July, Izvestia reported.
The Trump team is under investigation over alleged Russian collusion during last year’s presidential campaign. The Kremlin has denied interfering in the election.
If Donald Trump has ever read Joseph Heller’s famous satirical novel, he’ll recognize the situation as Catch-22.
If President Trump hands back the Russian diplomatic compounds seized by President Obama last year, he will cement his image of Kremlin stooge in the eyes of his opponents. At this point any concessions to Russia would be highly controversial, in light of current investigations in America into alleged links between Trump’s team and Moscow.
But if the Russian compounds are not returned, Moscow may well expel a number of US diplomats and seize some US diplomatic buildings. That could complicate what Trump says he wants to achieve: better relations with Russia.
This is not the first time that reports have emerged of Russia planning counter-measures. The latest threat - via a foreign ministry source in a pro-Kremlin newspaper - may be designed to increase the pressure on Washington, ahead of US-Russia talks on the issue.

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